Crystal Fire: The Birth of the Information Age

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W. W. Norton & Company, 1997 - Computers - 352 pages
2 Reviews
It is hard to imagine any device more crucial to modern life than the microchip and the transistor from which it sprang. Every waking hour people of the world take their vast benefits for granted - in cellular phones, ATMs, wrist watches, calculators, computers, automobiles, radios, televisions, fax machines, copiers, stoplights, and thousands of other electronic devices. Without a doubt, the transistor is the most important artifact of the twentieth century and the "nerve cell" of our electronic age. Crystal Fire recounts the story of the transistor team at Bell Labs headed up by William Shockley who shared the Nobel Prize with John Bardeen and Walter Brattain. While his colleagues went on to other research, Shockley grew increasingly obsessed with the new gadget. Eventually he formed his own firm - the first semiconductor company in what would become Silicon Valley, spawning hundreds of other businesses and a multi-billion-dollar industry. Above all, Crystal Fire is a tale of the human factors in technology - the pride and jealousies coupled with scientific and economic aspiration that led to the creation of modern microelectronics and ignited the greatest technological explosion in history.
 

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CRYSTAL FIRE -LIB 7K

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Hoddeson, a leading scholar on the history of solid state physics, has teamed up with Stanford University physicist Riordan to give us a history of the invention of the transistor--the basic building ... Read full review

Crystal fire: the birth of the information age

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In rich detail, Riordan (The Hunting of the Quark, LJ 1/88) and Hoddeson (history, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) unfurl the development of the transistor (whose 50th anniversary will be ... Read full review

Contents

BORN WITH THE CENTURY
11
THE REVOLUTION WITHIN
28
INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH SCIENCE
55
THE PHYSICS OF DIRT
71
THE FOURTH COLUMN
88
POINT OF ENTRY
115
MINORITY VIEWS
142
THE DAUGHTER OF INVENTION
168
SPREADING THE FLAMES
195
CALIFORNIA DREAMING
225
THE MONOLITHIC IDEA
254
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About the author (1997)

Stanford University physicist Michael Riordan has written several popular books on science and technology. He lives in Santa Cruz, California.

Lillian Hoddeson is an historian at the University of Illinois and lives in Urbana. Research for Crystal Fire was sponsored by the Sloan Foundation.

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